Eating a diet of different groups of foods is the best way for you to stay healthy, and help your baby grow and develop.
Having a good diet and being active will:
Sometimes cost can be a barrier to eating healthily. The Scottish Government has a range of support available to help people with the cost of living.
Eating well means:
As well as your free vitamins, you could be eligible for a Best Start Foods payment card to help you buy some food basics, including milk and fruit and vegetables.
More about Best Start Foods
Dieting to lose weight in pregnancy isn’t recommended, even if you’re overweight to begin with.
Some weight gain in pregnancy is normal and includes the weight of your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid.
Some foods taste different as your sense of taste can change when you’re pregnant. This is caused by hormonal changes in your body.
You might find you can’t eat foods you used to enjoy or crave them if they start to taste better. If you’re craving high-fat or high-sugar foods, try to limit them and eat regular balanced meals and healthy snacks instead.
To reduce the chance of harming yourself or your baby, you should avoid certain foods.
You should avoid eating:
Liver and liver products such as pâté or liver sausage can have large amounts of vitamin A. This can be harmful for your baby. All types of pâté, including vegetable versions, can have listeria in them. It’s best to avoid them.
Do not eat swordfish, marlin, shark or raw shellfish.
Do not eat ready-to-eat cold-smoked or cured fish products as they can present a risk of listeria. These include products like smoked salmon, smoked trout, and gravlax. You can eat these products if they’re cooked until steaming hot, as this destroys any listeria that may be present.
Only eat cured meats (like salami, pepperoni, chorizo and prosciutto) if they’ve been thoroughly cooked until steaming hot.
You should not eat game meat, such as hare, partridge or pheasant due to the presence of lead. You should also not eat raw or rare meat as this can cause food poisoning.
Always make sure any meat you eat is well cooked and steaming hot all the way through. You should not be able to see any pink meat and the juices should run clear.
Try not to have more than two portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish includes mackerel, sardines and trout.
Tuna is not classed as an oily fish, but do not eat more than two tuna steaks (about 140g cooked or 170g when raw) or four medium-size cans of tuna (about 140g when drained) per week.
These need to be cooked well until they are hot throughout to make sure they do not make you ill.
Thoroughly rinse fruits, vegetables and salads as they can have soil on them, which can make you unwell.
During pregnancy it’s safe to eat:
You’re safe to eat some milk and dairy foods, including:
Pasteurised cream and ice cream are safe, but are not considered ‘dairy’ by The Eatwell Guide and have high sugar and fat content.
You can eat runny or even raw eggs as long as they are pasteurised, or have the British Lion Code mark on them, or are Laid in Britain (LIB) eggs.
Foods made with these eggs are also safe to eat. This includes:
Make sure that duck, goose and quail eggs are thoroughly cooked.
If you’re eating out and not sure if they use British Lion Code or Laid in Britain eggs, ask the staff to find out for you.
Aim to have 6 to 8 200ml glasses of water or other fluids every day, and:
Decaffeinated coffee and tea are safe to drink during pregnancy.
Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Drink plenty of water when you’re pregnant to keep hydrated and stop you getting constipated, especially in your last 3 months.
You should boil water before you drink it if you get your drinking water from a private supply, such as a well, borehole or spring. The quality of water from private supplies can vary a lot and when it’s poor it can cause health problems.
During pregnancy you should:
Talk to your midwife if you’re unsure about using any herbal products.
Caffeine’s found naturally in chocolate, coffee and tea (including green tea). It’s also added to some:
Having too much caffeine when you’re pregnant can:
If you have too much caffeine, your baby can start to withdraw from it when they’re born. This makes them irritable.
While you’re pregnant it’s important to have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day.
|Food or drink||Amount of caffeine (mg)|
|Mug of instant coffee||100 mg|
|Mug of filter coffee||140 mg|
|Mug of tea||75 mg|
|330 ml can of cola||40 mg|
|250 ml can of energy drink||80 mg (larger cans may have up to 160 mg)|
|50 g bar of plain chocolate||less than 25 mg|
|50 g bar of milk chocolate||less than 10 mg|
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2 November 2023